An Afternoon at RHS Bridgewater
Yesterday I took the twins into Manchester for a daytrip. It was a solo venture as my husband was off at an event, and while I’ve navigated Manchester countless times alone with the twins, yesterday was particularly hellish. I won’t go into why right now, but we ended up having an impromptu sleepover at the in-laws’ house – they’re away on holiday at the moment so the house was empty which wasn’t ideal, but there was no way I was getting back on a train yesterday, so we made do!
Off to RHS Bridgewater
My husband met up with us and we drove home via RHS Bridgewater. We are RHS members but haven’t actually visited for a few months so I was keen to see what had changed and to experience the grounds in spring. I’m at my happiest when I’m outside so this was also a fantastic way of resetting after a stressful day in the big city!
The paths are wide and accessible throughout RHS Bridgewater, there are good baby changing facilities, and ample accessible toilets with enough room for the buggy inside. The shop and café are always worth a look at, and they’re brilliantly accessible too – all this means that I can wonder round the whole site with the double buggy and twins with no problems – a very welcome relief after the sheer inaccessibility of Manchester city centre.
The moment we stepped out into the grounds of RHS Bridgewater, I felt like some of my stress just melted away. We started by having a wander through the kitchen garden which is my favourite area of the whole garden. The twins happily watched as I pushed them around the paths, trying to identify anything and everything in site, much to my husband’s annoyance!
The highlight of this area for me was the irises. I have about ten irises coming into bloom at home so it was exciting to see huge clumps of them dotted around the kitchen garden. I counted over ten different varieties of iris and got more and more excited with every new variety I found. I think my favourite was the ‘Jane Phillips’ iris which is blue and puffy – somehow it reminded me of a Rococo painting!
RHS Bridgewater Adventure Playground
Our next stop was the woodland playground – I think our membership was worth its weight in gold for access to this playground alone. It’s like a huge adventure playground with all kinds of delightful things for little people to climb, swing on, and explore. There are little mud kitchen set ups, different kinds of swings, see-saws, climbing frames, tunnels, giant hammocks, fairy houses, and so much more. Everything is skilfully constructed from wood which is in perfect keeping with the whole RHS garden, and great for kids of all ages. My twins particularly love the big bowl-type swing and they could play in it for hours. Today, Twin One was happy to quietly sit in the buggy as she was so tired, but Twin Two had a great time on the swing! As it was a weekday during term time, there were only a few children in the whole playground and we could stay on the swing for a while without feeling like we were hogging it!
Once we were done in the playground, we leisurely walked through the woodland area, past the lake walk, and through the Chinese Water Garden. We skipped a few bits of the garden as it was starting to rain, but honestly, every area is worth a visit!
Finishing our visit at the café
We finished our trip with a drink from the café. We took full advantage of the outside seating area overlooking the lake as the rain had subsided and it was fairly warm. The café always has a delicious selection of hot and cold food on offer, and while we didn’t have any food today, we’ve stopped for lunch before and it really is delectable – it’s worth noting that I don’t think it’s as expensive as other attraction cafés too. Today, I noticed that there were little bars of Tony’s on offer, which is always a good sign!
We left RHS Bridgewater and headed home feeling lighter and refreshed. If you’re in the Greater Manchester area then I thoroughly recommend a visit – if not, there are four other RHS gardens across the UK, so see if there’s another one near you!